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How have various asset classes performed during previous wars

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North Korea, the dictator ruled nation has been threatening the US and its allies with a possible missile attack, which may also have a nuclear warhead on it. The experts are divided on the actual capability of North Korea to undertake the attacks, however, its leader, Kim Jong-un leaves no opportunity to provoke the US and its allies.

Key points

  1. Stocks perform better than average when the conflict starts
  2. Gold rallies before the start of the conflict
  3. Bonds have underperformed stocks during previous wars
  4. The US dollar has fallen on few occasions during a conflict
  5. The current war, if it starts, can severely impact electronic goods
  6. The US national debt is likely to balloon if US involves itself in South Korea’s reconstruction after the war ends

Though North Korea’s military prowess is nothing great to write home about, it can still cause extensive damage to millions of civilian lives and the economy of its neighbor South Korea, to some extent Japan and the US territory of Guam. However, in this article, we shall restrict ourselves to the impact of the war on various asset classes and the world economy. We shall use the historical evidence to arrive at our conclusion.

How does the US stock market perform during wars?

The US has fought several wars since 1960 as shown above. While a few ended quickly, others have been a long-drawn affair. Notwithstanding, Barron’s has outlined the effect of the following seven major hostilities on the Dow Jones Industrial Average since early 1980s.

Serial No War Year
01 The US invasion of Grenada 1983
02 The US invasion of Panama 1989
03 The first Gulf War 1991
04 The US bombing of Kosovo 1999
05 The US War of Afghanistan 2001
06 The second Gulf War 2003
07 The US bombing of Libya 2011

Source: Barron’s

The markets hate uncertainty; a proof of this is the average 0.6% drop in the Dow a month prior to the start of the conflict.

However, once the conflict commenced, the Dow quickly turned direction, rising 4% in the first month. The rally did not stop there. Over the next three months, the Dow rose an average 6.7%, and the gains swelled to 7.2% after six months of the start of the conflict.

Therefore, if history repeats itself, a war between the US and North Korea – if it were to happen – will not start the next bear market.

How does gold perform during wars?

Gold is considered as a safe haven during times of uncertainty. Therefore, the yellow metal has rallied from about $1260/toz to about $1360/toz levels, as tensions escalated between North Korea and the US.

But, will gold continue its rally if the war starts?

Economists at Capital Economics have analyzed gold’s performance since 1985, during military conflicts, acts of terror and political tension.

They established that “over the past forty odd years, the price of gold has on average risen by 4.1% in the six months prior to a conflict turning into a full-blown war. However, it barely moved in the months following the event. This makes sense as gold thrives in periods of elevated uncertainty and the start of an armed conflict partly erases that.”

Performance of long-term bonds during wars

Though bonds are also considered as a safe haven investment, their performance has lagged their historical average during wars, according to a study by the CFA Institute. The possible reasons are an increase in inflation during war times and the second is the higher borrowing by the government to fund the war. Due to these two, bond prices fall. Therefore, selling out of stocks and buying bonds fearing a conflict might not prove to be a good strategy. The only aberration was during the gulf war when bonds beat stocks, albeit marginally.

How does the war affect the US dollar?

The evidence of the past three decades shows that the US dollar weakens during war, according to Kathy Lien, Managing Director of FX Strategy for BK Asset Management. The US dollar fell 5% when the Libyan war started and fell 9% during the first three months of the second gulf war. The dollar was weak even during the first gulf war.

However, this time, the situation is more complex and a lot of currency movements will depend on whether China actively involves itself in the war or remains neutral. The Australian dollar, the New Zealand dollar, and the Japanese Yen will see large moves if China supports North Korea directly during the war, else the movement in the currencies is likely to be comparatively subdued.

“As the tensions grow the dollar will suffer and the actual announcement of war could take USD/JPY to 105 but if it’s a swift victory the pair would also recover quickly,” said Kathy.

Though historical evidence gives us some idea about the possibilities, every new war is different because it involves different nations and affects different asset classes.

What sectors will be affected if a war with North Korea takes place?

Commodities

North Korea, in itself, can’t impact commodity prices. However, it is surrounded by nations that are major consumers of commodities. China is one of the major consumers of commodities, however, it is unlikely that the war will impact China’s consumption materially.

South Korea is a major importer of coal and exporter of steel. Both these commodities will be majorly impacted because South Korea will be severely affected if a war breaks out. Similarly, liquified natural gas prices will be affected, as Japan is its largest importer in the world.

The seaborne trade will also be severely affected because China, South Korea, and Japan receive about one-third of the global seaborne crude supplies. Similarly, 84% of the world’s iron ore and 47% of the metallurgical coal reaches the shores of these three nations through the seaborne route.

The agricultural commodities will also be affected because China is a major importer of rice and soybeans while Japan is of corn.

Economic costs of the war

War has both a direct and an indirect impact on the economy. South Korea is a hub for manufacturing liquid crystal displays, semiconductors, and cars. A war will impact these activities, leading to a shortage across the globe. The alternative suppliers can’t bridge the gap in such a short span of time.  Therefore, prices of various electronic products are likely to rise significantly, which will impact the developed economies, including the US.

“U.S. spending on electronic items, including smart phones, cameras, tablets and computers accounts for roughly 1 percent of the consumer price inflation basket. If a war in Korea caused prices of these items to double, it would add 1 percentage point to U.S. inflation,” a report by the research consultancy Capital Economics warned, reports CNBC.

If inflation rises sharply, the Central Banks will be forced to raise interest rates, jeopardizing the fledgling global economic recovery.

Additionally, if South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) falls by about 50% due to war, it will reduce the global GDP by 1 percentage point, according to the report.

Once the war ends, South Korea will need huge capital to rebuild its infrastructure. If the US involves itself and ends up spending the same amount as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, then the federal debt will reach 105% of GDP, the economists at Capital Economics warned.

Conclusion

Though historical evidence suggests that the equity market returns are better than average during a war, the situation might be different this time because of the nations involved. Any jolt to the weak economic recovery across the globe will dent the confidence of the investors. Therefore, we don’t expect the stock markets to rise substantially during the war.

Gold’s performance is somewhat neutral and it can be used to protect the value of the portfolio. Therefore, selling some overvalued stocks and buying gold might be a good strategy if a war seems imminent.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 9 rated postsRakesh Upadhyay is a Technical Analyst and Portfolio Consultant for The Summit Group. He has more than a decade of experience as a private trader. His philosophy is to use technical analysis for momentum trading and fundamental analysis for long-term positions. Rakesh likes to keep himself fit by lifting weights and considers himself to be a spiritual person.




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Analysis

Platinum Update: Faces Life or Death Showdown

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The Platinum/US Dollar (XPT/USD) pair has been in a decade-long downtrend. In July 2008, the pair broke out of a double top pattern on the weekly chart after taking out support of $1,850. There were numerous attempts to reverse the trend and break out of the slump. However, every single effort was denied as bears held $1,850 resistance. As a result, XPT/USD is now trading around $800.

While bears seem to have the upper hand, there’s a case for a bullish reversal. In this article, we explore the bearish and bullish scenarios for the XPT/USD pair.

The Bearish Case for Platinum

In technical analysis, the prevailing trend remains until there’s a clear sign of trend reversal. As mentioned, XPT/USD is still in a downtrend. The downtrend was recently confirmed by a breakout from sideways consolidation on the daily chart in June 2018.


XPT/USD daily chart

The breakout quickly brought XPT/USD down to $800 support. While bulls are managing to hold on, it appears that their mettle will be tested soon.

Large Descending Triangle on the Monthly

The descending triangle is often a continuation pattern with a bearish bias. The lower highs of this pattern put enormous pressure on the support that it eventually snaps. We see this pattern emerging on the monthly chart of Platinum/US Dollar.

XPT/USD monthly chart

The pattern is enormous. It is large enough to keep many retail investors on the sidelines. From the looks of it, XPT/USD appears to have just completed the E-wave or the final dead cat bounce. With a new lower high in place, bulls are in for the fight of their life at $800.

The Bullish Case for Platinum

The good news for the bulls is that not all descending triangles are bearish. Sometimes, bulls use the price compression at the apex to take out the resistance.

The key issue to understand is that the pattern must be triggered first. If bears take out $800, then the market sinks deeper. If bulls breach the resistance, then that might just be enough to kickstart a bull run.

Double Bottom on the Monthly

If bulls win this battle, then many investors will look at the possibility of a double bottom reversal pattern on the monthly chart.

Possible double bottom of XPT/USD

The preservation of $800 support amidst the threat of a huge descending triangle paints a bullish picture. It should send a reverberating message that $800 is bull territory. This would attract all types of investors and may generate sufficient momentum to push the market back up to previous highs and create a double bottom reversal pattern.

Bottom Line

Bulls and bears are bound to have a showdown at the $800 support level. Whoever wins this fight gets to control the market in the coming months or even years. Bears have the upper hand but it looks like bulls have what it takes to pull out one big surprise.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.6 stars on average, based on 223 rated postsKiril is a financial professional with 4+ years of experience in financial writing, analysis and product ownership. He has passed all three CFA exams on first attempt and has a bachelor's degree with a specialty in finance. Kiril’s current focus is on cryptocurrencies and ETFs, as he does his own crypto research and is the subject matter expert at ETFdb.com. He also has his personal website, InvestorAcademy.org where he teaches people about the basics of investing. His ultimate goal is to help people with limited knowledge of finance and investments to create investment portfolios easily, and in line with their unique circumstances.




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Commodities

Gold Price Is Getting Crushed as Dollar Reaches New 2018 Highs

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Gold’s brisk selloff deepened Thursday, as investors put higher interest rates on the front burner following two days of testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Gold Price Levels

According to Bloomberg data, the price of gold bottomed at $1,212.70 a troy ounce on Thursday, extending a three-month selloff that has shaved 11% from the yellow metal’s value. Gold peaked slightly above $1,360 in March and April before plunging over the next three months.

Bullion is trading at its lowest level in over a year, with technical charts putting the next major support level around $1,200-$1,202 an ounce.

Silver, which often trades in the direction of gold, was off more than 2% Thursday to a low of $15.19 a troy ounce. The grey metal later recovered around $15.30 but was still down more than 12% from January’s settlement high of $17.61.

Dollar Rally Intensifies

A surging dollar has largely underpinned the massive exodus out of gold over the last three months. The U.S. dollar index (DXY), which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of currencies, has gained nearly 7% compared to three months ago. DXY is up 3.6% for the year, more than offsetting its worst annual start in decades.

On Thursday, the dollar index rose more than half a percent to a high of 95.65, its best level of the year.

The dollar’s strength combined with Brexit woes triggered a fresh slide in the British pound, which fell on Thursday to its lowest since August.

The Canadian dollar declined sharply on tariff fears, sending the USD/CAD currency pair to its highest level of the month.

A stronger U.S. currency makes the purchase of gold and other commodities more costly for international buyers, which reduces their relative demand. On Wall Street, investors have shown a renewed penchant for stocks in anticipation of a strong earnings quarter.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday wrapped up his semiannual testimony before Congress where he fielded questions on the economy, protectionism and cryptocurrency. Although Powell didn’t strike an overly hawkish tone, he left little doubt about the central bank’s plan to raise short-term interest rates.

On Wednesday, Powell told lawmakers they can expect several years of economic growth under the current policy regime.

“With appropriate monetary policy, the job market will remain strong and inflation will stay near 2% over the next several years,” Powell said in prepared remarks.

The central bank “believes that – for now – the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate” in a way that keeps pace with the economic recovery, he added.

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members will next meet July 31-Aug. 1 to set short-term interest rates. No change is expected before September.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 548 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Commodities

Oil Prices Plunge as Saudi Arabia Prepares Record Output

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Oil prices declined sharply Monday amid reports that Saudi Arabia is heeding to President Trump’s request to keep the energy market well supplied. OPEC’s kingpin is stepping up its contractual obligations to key Asian markets amid disruptions from Venezuela and Libya, among others.

Oil Prices Drop

Crude futures in New York and London were down more than 4% on Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contracts for August settlement bottomed at $67.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest in nearly a month. Prices would later consolidate at $68.11 a barrel for a decline of $2.90, or 4.1%.

ICE Brent futures for September delivery bottomed at $71.80 a barrel, the lowest in three months. It was last down $3.16, or 4.1%, at $72.17 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia Ramping Up Production

Bloomberg reported Monday that the Saudis are planning to offer extra crude volumes to some of their Asian buyers less than a month after Riyadh convinced fellow OPEC members to crank up daily production levels.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has offered extra cargoes of its Arab Extra Light crude to at least two buyers in Asia, Bloomberg said. If approved, the additional supplies will be shipped for August.

Last month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to raise production by 600,000 barrels per day, paving the way for an eventual 1 million-barrel-per-day increase for the cartel and its allies. The Saudis are planing to pump at record levels to offset supply disruptions elsewhere.

OPEC’s secondary sources indicate that the Saudis began ramping up production before the biannual meeting in Vienna on June 22, where cartel members agreed to ease supply restrictions. According to the data, Saudi Arabia boosted its daily output by 405,400 barrels in June compared with May.

Riyadh is also looking to pick up the slack from Iran, which faces renewed sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal. The Saudis are said to be targeting crude output at 10.8 million barrels per day, the largest on record.

Trump Succeeding in Reining In Oil Prices

President Trump has criticized OPEC’s policies and has called on producers to raise their output in order to cap runaway price growth.

“Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!” Trump tweeted in June. Earlier this month, he said: “The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!”

With political pressure to rein in oil prices intensifying ahead of the midterm elections, the Trump administration has announced it is considering tapping the nation’s emergency crude supply. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve currently houses a total inventory of 660 million crude barrels, though options under review suggest that figure is between 5 million barrels and 30 million barrels lower.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 548 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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